Today, July 28 is World Hepatitis Day and it may sound unbelievable but it is true that 13 per cent Nigerians are carrier of Hepatitis Virus. The virus is lying quietly in their system because in the pathology of Hepatitis B, some people are just healthy carriers.
In this interview with Dr Sanni Olukayode, a, Consultant Physician at EKO Hospital, Ikeja, Lagos, Hepatitis are of various species and it is becoming endemic in developing countries, including Nigeria.
FINDINGS SHOW THAT 13 PER CENT OF NIGERIANS ARE HEALTHY CARRIERS OF HEPATITIS, HOW WILL YOU REACT TO THIS?
According to Dr Olukayode, Hepatitis is common in this environment and as a matter of fact, it is almost endemic but like you know, when you say Hepatitis, it means the inflammation of the Liver and this is a major organ in the body.
He went further to say that "There are various types of Hepatitis, the common ones are Hepatitis A & B but if you put them in alphabetical order, we have up to E. Hepatitis A & B have a different route by which they get to human beings".
"Hepatitis A which atimes we call epidemic Hepatitis is transmitted orally in contrast to Hepatitis B which is through blood contact and sexual act".
– Good personal hygeine is essential in preventing Hepatitis especially A. Washing your foodstuff, cooking food properly, washing your hands after using the toilet.
– Risky life behaviour like excessive alcohol intake can predispose you to poor/risky sexual behaviour. Someone that drinks can be very casual and fall victim of Hepatitis B because it is transmitted sexually. That is why once someone has HIV, we usually check them fo Hepatitis B and vice-versa.
Comorbidity can affect the progress of the illness. If somebody has HIV and Hepatitis B he/she is likely to go downhill as compared to someone who doesn't have HIV but has Hepatitis B because HIV reduces your immunity and ability to combat the virus in your system.
– If someone already has Hepatitis B, smoking can aggravate it even if the virus is lying quietly in the system because in the pathology of Hepatitis B, some people are just healthy carriers. The virus is there but it's quiet, not creating any active illness.
– Using drugs indiscriminately could make the Hepatitis B virus flare up and this virus is always at the liver. It loves to stay in the liver and when the virus becomes active it can lead to inflammation of the liver which can also lead to cirrhosis and cancer of the liver.
– Also taking herbs carelessly after being diagnosed of Hepatitis is bad. Most of these herbs are hepatotoxic i.e they are toxic to the liver and such provoke and accelerate the clinical presentation of Hepatitis B and Hepatitis as a whole.